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Thread: Of Mice and Men: Gangs, Narco-Terrorism, and the USA

  1. #41
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    If the drug cartels are adding oil as another business set, at what point do they become an insurgency? Is it possible that they are currently setting up shadow governments and controlling portions of territory?
    They become an insurgency when they try to replace the existing government as that which exercises authority over them, and use violent means to secure that policy.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  2. #42
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    A very good blog following international criminal organizations
    Friends Of Ours

  3. #43
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    Default International Criminal Actors

    Here is MikeF's question:

    If the drug cartels are adding oil as another business set, at what point do they become an insurgency? Is it possible that they are currently setting up shadow governments and controlling portions of territory?
    and Wilf's answer:

    They become an insurgency when they try to replace the existing government as that which exercises authority over them, and use violent means to secure that policy.
    which is correct as a military definition. However, it is not the final answer as to what law and rules apply in engaging them.

    Drug cartels and criminal gangs in general are Violent Non-State Actors. In their present-day highly evolved form, they are usually Transnational Violent Non-State Actors. Calling them that does not necessarily tell us what to do with them - it only defines what they are.

    Nor, does it necessarily help to define them solely in terms of an insurgency. A transnational gang may not be violent on its home turf (it may already own that government, for example). It may be very violent in another country, but not have either the intent or ability to overthrow that government.

    Cutting to the "cheese" (because I have an 87 year old, WWII 82nd Airborne vet, waiting to sign some docs), under US law, a state of "armed conflict" can be "declared" against a Violent Non-State Actor, as in the case of AQ.

    Normally, we (US) handle gangs under criminal law enforcement rules.

  4. #44
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Copy of RICO crimes to include terrorism. A RICO organization describes very clearly what we will be facing from Mexico now and in the future.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rackete...anizations_Act

  5. #45
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    Default Insurgent like, and very dangerous

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_4_corruption.html

    The Mexicanization of American Law Enforcement
    The drug cartels extend their corrupting influence northward.

    Far less widely reported is the infiltration and corruption of American law enforcement, according to Robert Killebrew, a retired U.S. Army colonel and senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security. “This is a national security problem that does not yet have a name,” he wrote last fall in The National Strategy Forum Review. The drug lords, he tells me, are seeking to “hollow out our institutions, just as they have in Mexico.”
    http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts...#comment-89222

    British Muslim Gangs and the “Chemical Jihad”

    Some law enforcement officials believe the British Taliban fighters may have links to criminal gangs in Britain whose members are Muslim and who have been connected to selling heroin on British streets. At least one other captured Taliban fighter was found to have British gang tattoos on his arms, according to a western law enforcement advisor to the U.S. military, and there is evidence that various British Muslim gangs have sent fighters to Afghanistan, or sell Afghan heroin on British streets. Roughly 90 percent of the heroin sold in Britain comes from Afghanistan.
    "The big bosses have Taliban and al Qaeda connections and we're often told only to deal it to non-Muslims. They call it chemical jihad and hope to ruin lives while getting massive payouts at the same time," said a street dealer quoted in this British tabloid.
    While the word tabloid makes me immediately suspect, there are probably legitimate sources that can validate this.

    Although the DEA says less than 5% of the heroin sold on U.S. streets comes from Southwest Asia, some U.S. law enforcement authorities nonetheless fear that Afghan heroin could be headed this way. Currently the vast majority of criminal gangs tied to smuggling heroin into the U.S. are Latin American, not South Asian, in origin. That said, Canada's Royal Mounted Police recently warned that more than 60 percent of the heroin sold in Canada now comes from Afghanistan and links have been established between Indian crime rings and that emerging trend.
    Interesting to see the Indian crime rings tied to the Muslim run drug trade. I guess tribal identity and patriotism only go so far. Then again they could be Indian Muslims (they only have a few million).

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...932030,00.html

    A Major Blow to Mexico's Masters of Meth

    Whether or not La Familia is Mexico's most violent drug cartel, it is certainly the weirdest. Arguably, it is the world's first "narco-evangelical" gang. During this week's raids, U.S. officials found numerous religious images, "on fireplaces, in closets, everywhere," says one. La Familia members purport to be devout Christians who abstain from drugs themselves. In fact, they insist that while they sell meth and cocaine to the U.S., they keep it away from Mexicans. They also study a special Bible authored by their leader, Nazario Moreno, a.k.a. El Más Loco, or "The Craziest One." The cartel's profits have helped it build a large network of support among the poor in Michoacán, which is also the home state of Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
    Insurgent like in that the cartel is attempting to mobilize the population using religion and money to in effect undermine the State's security forces.

    All very interesting, and in my opinion this presents a very serious threat.

  6. #46
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Iraq's lessons, on the home front

    An update on the NPS project to help the Salinas community:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...src=newsletter

    In fact, the cavalry arrived in civvies, carrying laptops rather than M-16s and software instead of mortars. In this case, the most valuable military asset turned out to be an idea: Change the dynamic in the community and victory can follow.
    Cites Mike F too.
    davidbfpo

  7. #47
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    Default NPS supports the homefront

    David, thanks for the post, good to see the intellectual capital of DoD being employed to help American towns solve tough challenges. I hope it works out.

  8. #48
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Limitations of COIN

    As discussed throughout this thread, the issue is more than a LE problem.

    To secure Salinas, the mayor wants more boots on the ground, though finding the money to hire 84 officers became more problematic after local voters recently rejected a 1-cent increase in the sales tax, billed as "a penny for peace." More officers would mean less dashing from call to call and more time to demonstrate that police work for residents.
    This sales tax was a county vote not just Salinas. It included Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Monterey. Frankly, I'm disappointed that it did not pass.

  9. #49
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Good job Mike. Can you tell us more of what you did?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    As discussed throughout this thread, the issue is more than a LE problem.

    This sales tax was a county vote not just Salinas. It included Carmel, Pebble Beach, and Monterey. Frankly, I'm disappointed that it did not pass.
    The Carmel and PB populations (Carmel includes Carmel-by-the-sea, Carmel Valley Village and Carmel Highlands, while Pebble Beach is part of the larger Del Monte Forest) especially tend to have a disproportionate influence on such county votes. They always turn out to vote against taxes for the local public schools as well as the policing improvements mentioned, whereas many of those who would most benefit from the measures don't bother voting.

    The manning issue for LE in the county goes well beyond simply getting the money to hire additional officers. What also cripples staffing is county, city and town ability (or lack thereof) to pay salaries that will retain current officers and attract new recruits. Last I heard, many jurisdictions were understrength and more concerned with meeting existing organizational staffing levels than with increasing the number of approved positions. More rural areas like Gonzalez and Castroville have difficulty in maintaining a LE presence - and the gangs are well aware of this.

    Then you have non-profit programs linking in the county justice system with the population that work - like the Monterey County Victim Offender Reconciliation Program, which targets juvenile offenders - that struggle to attain anything more than minimal effectiveness across the county due to lack of funding, support and participation.

  11. #51
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Good job Mike. Can you tell us more of what you did?
    I didn't participate in the group. It was a bit too close to home at the time, and I was dealing with my own medical issues. Here's what they did.

    They conducted FID- teaching, assisting, and advising

    - Instructions on MDMP to help the local LE think smarter and learn new ways of problem solving.
    - Social Network Analysis to define the problem set. Old school enemy and friendly templates using computers.
    - Course of Action Development. Where should police stations be? How should one be patrolling (mounted/dismounted)? How do you flood an area with limited resources?
    - Information Operations. How do you make residents feel safe and trust the LE?
    - ROE and Fire Control Restrictions. "Dude, it's not okay to shoot up a car with two innocent teenagers in it b/c you were scared."

    That's some of the basics to help LE reestablish security. As for the larger problem, it will require inter-agency cooperation, community involvement, and time.

  12. #52
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Chemical Jihad theme

    A week ago Bill Moore asked (Post 45) after some reporting on the British Muslim Gangs and the “Chemical Jihad” from: http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts...#comment-89222

    Some law enforcement officials believe the British Taliban fighters may have links to criminal gangs in Britain whose members are Muslim and who have been connected to selling heroin on British streets. At least one other captured Taliban fighter was found to have British gang tattoos on his arms, according to a western law enforcement advisor to the U.S. military, and there is evidence that various British Muslim gangs have sent fighters to Afghanistan, or sell Afghan heroin on British streets. Roughly 90 percent of the heroin sold in Britain comes from Afghanistan.
    The big bosses have Taliban and al Qaeda connections and we're often told only to deal it to non-Muslims. They call it chemical jihad and hope to ruin lives while getting massive payouts at the same time," said a street dealer quoted in this British tabloid (Added - The Daily Star).
    While the word tabloid makes me immediately suspect, there are probably legitimate sources that can validate this.

    My limited response.

    Heroin importation into the UK has had an Afghan / Pakistani link for over thirty years, sometimes with a strong Turkish community role. With many arrests and convictions - often from the 'Usual Suspects' and inter-generational in one family I knew of. I cannot recall any evidence of an overlap between heroin smuggling and radical / terrorist groups. Nor Muslim gangs sending members to fight in Afghanistan.

    Yes the crime-terror overlap is on the "radar" and much of the commentary is alarmist, one reason why I have doubts over some US reporting. There is little to support the overlap in the UK and as my comments show there are good reasons for the radical / terrorist to be wary of such contacts.

    Would the Taliban or others accept gang members, whose loyalties pose a number of security issues and what value is there in sending their members to fight.

    There have been references by arrested heroin dealers to 'chemical jihad' as a justification, spurious post-event IMHO. Heroin dealers rarely have the scruples of only selling to unbelievers, indeed there is ample evidence that many Pakistani and other South Asian communities are alarmed over heroin and other drug abuse in their own communities - primarily within their young.

    In fact there are several UK references to radicals opposing the use of heroin and one of the 7/7 bombers MSK actively oppposed drug dealing in his community in Leeds (covered in My Brother the Bomber thread).

    Yes the big bosses may have links to Taliban and AQ leadership. Personally I doubt this, can such people be trusted? Or is there merit "playing both sides" and gaining some protection, even legitimacy, from saying it is for "the cause".

    Fifteen years ago a major heroin distributor moved between his homes in the FATA and Afghanistan when external pressure for action was applied. He was a Pakistani Federal Assembly member and when a prosecution finally got to court in Quetta he arrived with thousands of armed followers, needless to say the case didn't start.

    Incidentally
    At least one other captured Taliban fighter was found to have British gang tattoos on his arms..
    This is very different to the original report: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...la-tattoo.html
    A Taliban fighter killed in Afghanistan was found with an Aston Villa tattoo on his body, British soldiers claim.
    Curiously the story was not confirmed or followed up.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-21-2009 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Slow construction
    davidbfpo

  13. #53
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    Default Maybe we need to look at it harder?

    Posted by Davidbfpo,

    A Taliban fighter killed in Afghanistan was found with an Aston Villa tattoo on his body, British soldiers claim.

    Curiously the story was not confirmed or followed up.
    David, your points are well taken, but I would like to encourage the professional community to take a closer look at this "potential" nexus between street gangs and Takiri Terrorist groups/movements.

    In the next few posts (later this weekend) I'm going to post some links that shed some additional light on this issue. Some of the sources have some degree of credibility and others are unknown. I very confident that there is a strong and growing nexus between organized crime and takiri terrorist organizations, so extending that relationship to street gangs doesn't seem like an unreasonable stretch.

    Much like the communists infiltrated our unions, D.C. lobby groups, youth groups, universities (they're still there) and some cases different churches to facilitate spreading their propaganda, agitating these groups to take action, and in some cases to facilitate recruiting, the takiri terrorists in the West are infiltrating (or building) Islamic learning centers, youth groups, prisons, and most likely criminal gangs to include street gangs (most likely the connections were made in prison). If Kilkullen is right and the Takfiri violence is more about political Islam than extremist religion, it would only make sense to attempt to infiltrate and radicalize groups. I think the risk is low to their security, because many of the radicalizers are known to law enforcement, but they're not breaking any of our laws, so they can operate in the open. They're overt trouble makers recruiting or motivating a semi-overt guerrilla force (street gangs), and the most talented ones may be recruited into the elite underground for terrorist operations. The others are overtly selling drugs and conducting other illegal acts to raise money. The question is, are any of these groups giving money acquired by illegal means to Takfiri groups/charities? If not, then the activity is probably just encouraged to be corrosive or subversive in nature to Western society as a whole.

    These are just thoughts or a hypothesis at best, I don't have evidence to support it, but I'm looking for it. As these thoughts evolve I'll continue to post them. More soon.....

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    Default Some relevant links

    http://www.corrections.com/news/article/18629

    Ideological Connections between Gangs and Terrorists

    Gangs, like a wide variety of criminals, feel a sense of disconnection with mainstream American society. This disconnection manifests itself in anti-social behavior and rationalization of criminal acts against non-gang members and rival gang members. As with members of terrorist groups, these gangs see outsiders as a steady supply of victims, or as collateral damage. Islamic radical terrorists view non-believers as infidels and justify their killing as a way of getting their views across and getting through to their enemies.
    Terrorists and terrorist organizations, domestic and foreign, utilize the services of criminals to carry out operations and obtain logistical support. In fact, it is standard operating procedure for many terrorist organizations to employ the skills of street gangs and other criminals in reaching their goals.
    http://www.corrections.com/news/article/18674

    The gang terrorist connection, part II

    Prisons as recruiting grounds If there ever was a breeding ground for discontented Americans, feeling hatred for the U.S. government, it is our prisons and jails. Many American inmates are ripe for the picking by an intelligent terrorist bent on recruiting for his/her terrorist organization.

    Terrorist groups such as Al Fuqra, found in several states across the U.S., have successfully recruited members among America’s inmate population. Even Richard Reid, a British citizen, also known as the ‘Shoe Bomber’ was recruited in a British prison and converted to radical Islam.

    http://publicintelligence.net/u-us-b...rorist-groups/

    (FBI Report) Several domestically based extremist organizations have demonstrated an interest in recruiting current and former gang members. No specific, credible intelligence indicates members of US-based street gangs are currently engaged in operational planning on behalf of terrorist organizations targeting the United States; however, former gang members have been arrested for terrorist plotting as recently as 2005. Terrorist recruitment patterns could potentially increase gang member involvement with terrorist groups.
    More at each site.

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    Default More sites, European focus

    http://www.islam-watch.org/Europe/Cu...-in-Europe.htm

    While the phenomenon affects only a minority of European Muslims, its dimensions and repercussions are more than noteworthy. In London, city officials are worried about the growth of an extremely violent gang commonly known as the Muslim Boys. Operating in the southern areas of the British capital, the gang is composed of several hundreds of members and is active in criminal activities ranging from robberies to drug trafficking. The members of the gang are mostly British-born black youth originally from the Caribbean or Africa who converted to Islam in British penitentiaries and bond over their newfound faith (Evening Standard, February 3, 2005). Yet, their interpretation of Islam is perverted. The gang members do not respect the most basic tenets of Islam, and their appearance and slang more closely resemble that of American ghetto culture than that of practicing Muslims. Tellingly, a gang member admitted to a reporter from the Evening Standard: "I pray twice a day: before I do crime and after. I ask Allah for a blessing when I'm out on the streets. Afterwards, I apologize to Allah for what I done [sic]." The gang is also involved in "forced conversions," compelling black youth at gunpoint to convert to Islam and join them; two years ago, they executed a 24-year-old for refusing to convert.
    Jihadism is a global movement whose characteristics mutate rapidly. While today some of the abovementioned trends are still in a developing phase or can be noticed only in some European countries, it is likely that they will be replicated with greater intensity and in more countries in the near future.
    Numerous other sites point to indicators, but "hard" facts/evidence is hard to find.

  16. #56
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Bill, I would add this point which all your references have missed. Many people are born into gangs......they are literally 4th generation or more gangsters/terrorist and they are the most difficult to fight. The newer the gang the easier it is to get rid of, once they begin to form strong formal and legal links into a society it is very difficult to deal with them because it becomes a way of life.

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    Default Agreed

    Slapout, I agree, and we discussed the generation of gangs previously, which remains a fascinating subject for me; however, I was trying to narrow the focus this time to the nexus between gangs and terrorist groups.

    However, taking your a point a step further, if you have an evolved gang (multi-generational) that becomes radicalized or at least partners with a radical group what are the implications? Is that a way to quickly deep dive the radicalization process into a culture where it was previously foreign?

  18. #58
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Agreed, but...

    Listen to Col Jones (Bob's World).

    Get rid of the terrorist label and look at it from this front:

    1. Insurgents- use violence to try to take over the gov't.

    2. Gangs/Narco-Terrorist- use violence to corner a market and make money.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Slapout, I agree, and we discussed the generation of gangs previously, which remains a fascinating subject for me; however, I was trying to narrow the focus this time to the nexus between gangs and terrorist groups.

    However, taking your a point a step further, if you have an evolved gang (multi-generational) that becomes radicalized or at least partners with a radical group what are the implications? Is that a way to quickly deep dive the radicalization process into a culture where it was previously foreign?
    Best advice I can give you is to go in another direction. Start studying about Cults, Religious ones in particular. When I first got out of the Army I worked part time for a large security company in Florida while I was still in college. I ended up doing investigations because I used to help my Lieutenants write after action reports and they liked the way I wrote my reports. Plus I think I ony have one skill and that is finding.....anything, people,things,ides,the truth.

    Anyway during the mid to late seventies alot of people started disappearing into religious cults and I was pretty good at finding them. It was an interesting journey to say the least. Many terrorist organization operate more along these lines then anything I have seen. That and they sometimes appear to have links to state run Intelligence agencies.

    My first case involved a Jewish organization that wasn't Jewish at all they tried to convert people from the Jewish belief to Christianity. They all have a front organization that recruits people and they put them through a brainwashing program. A good book to read is called "The Green Ripper" by John D. MacDonald. The book is fiction but deals with cults and terrorism and is eerily close to how the Mumbai attacks were carried out, except I think they went to Airports instead in the book. They used the circle of death technique to shoot as many civilians as possible.

    It took years before he admitted it but the author was OSS during the war and some say he never really left but who knows, anyway some really good info in the book. Anyway that is what I would be doing, just to many similarities based upon my experience. Later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Listen to Col Jones (Bob's World).

    Get rid of the terrorist label and look at it from this front:

    1. Insurgents- use violence to try to take over the gov't.

    2. Gangs/Narco-Terrorist- use violence to corner a market and make money.
    There has been a recent debate about applying COIN to LE in the US. The parallels between COIN and community policing are quite striking. One of the arguments is that gangs don't have a political agenda. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009...ks/#more-19759

    And while I full heartedly believe that "Gangs/Narco-Terrorist- use violence to corner a market and make money," creating an ungovernable space where law enforcement and local/state/federal government can not exercise their full sovereignty is critical to their success in cornering a market and making money. Don't insurgents do the same thing?

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